A matter of arithmetic
Nett run rate is an interesting piece of arithmetic - and never more so than on the final day of league matches at WCL Division 5 in Kathmandu.
It becomes particularly intriguing when teams' run rates are separated by a few hundredths, or even thousandths in some instances. A couple of runs, or even two dot balls, can make all the difference in teams' relative league positions.
This was the case on the afternoon of Friday 26 February in Kathmandu. Singapore had just rattled off the 193 runs to beat Jersey in just 26 overs, to give themselves a final nett run rate of 1.347. Over at Tribhavan University, immediately before the riot broke out, Nepal had a run rate that was slightly superior to that of Singapore, and USA had a run rate that was marginally below Singapore's.
The mathematics of the situation were actually quite simple. There were three scenarios - all of which guaranteed Singapore second place in the table.
What the riot and the subsequent decision to reduce the overs did was suddenly to boost both the Nepal and USA run rates above Singapore's - and as things transpired they stayed that way.
So there we have it - the bottom line is that, if the riot had not occurred, then Singapore would have been guaranteed second place, qualification for the final, and promotion to WCL Division 4. All of those were taken away from them in a totally unjustifiable manner.
That's why we are campaigning for justice to be done for Singapore by the ICC. Singapore has been the totally innocent victim of a miscarriage of cricketing justice. As far as I am concerned, the ICC can censure Nepal in whatever way they wish, but natural justice demands that they promote Singapore.
I wondered at the time if the match officials realised the implication of the reduction in overs - did they appreciate that every minute that passed was vital to the integrity of the outcome of the tournament? I suspect not.
The fact that Singapore claim that there was some confusion about the final run rates and it was some considerable time (hours, according to some sources) before the final figures were announced, is itself concerning. How long does it take to update and read a spreadsheet? Again it makes me wonder if the officials appreciated the dynamics of the run rate situation and therefore what had come to pass.
Having worked closely with a number of tournament referees at various ICC and ICC Europe tournaments, I know for a fact that many of them do not appreciate the considerable nuances of the nett run rate arithmetic in a tournament situation and the significant perturbations to the run rates that can be caused by even small reductions in the length of matches. Even an unnecessary one over delay in starting or restarting one match can actually have a significant impact on the other teams. Never was this demonstrated more clearly than on this occasion.
Perhaps an official document explaining and describing these nuances would be useful - just as there are documents describing the application of the Duckworth Lewis Methods and providing various scenarios?
So, the case before ICC is quite straightforward. The riot was solely responsible for Singapore's failure to finish second in World Cricket League Division 5. A great wrong must be put right as soon as possible.